Washington, DC - American voters rate environmental issues, especially clean
water and air, as top concerns going into this year's elections, according
to a national poll released today by the League of Conservation Voters (LCV)
Education Fund. Clean air and water rank among education, crime and drugs,
healthcare, and Social Security and Medicare as top-tier concerns, rating
higher than taxes. The national poll indicates that a majority (64 percent)
of voters view environmental issues as very (28 percent) or somewhat
important (36 percent) when deciding how to cast their ballot.
"American voters care deeply about the quality of the air they breathe and
the water they drink, and they overwhelmingly support candidates who share
those concerns," said Deb Callahan, president of the LCV Education Fund.
"Voters not only favor candidates who support stronger environmental
protections and enforcement, but they are also much more likely to oppose
candidates who would turn back protections for our air, water and open
Voters of all political parties and ideologies overwhelmingly reject the
notion that a clean environment and a strong economy are mutually exclusive.
Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of both moderate and liberal voters, and
over two-thirds (68 percent) of conservative voters believe that "we can
have a clean environment and a strong economy at the same time without
having to choose one over the other." Over three-quarters of voters (78
percent) say they would favor strong environmental candidates over those who
push for fewer government regulations (15 percent).
Voters believe there is an appropriate role for government regulations and
enforcement of environmental laws. The poll shows that voters want tougher
environmental laws and stricter enforcement (77 percent). An overwhelming 92
percent of respondents agree that polluters or those who break environmental
laws should pay a fine to help pay for environmental enforcement. In
addition, 89 percent of respondents agree that businesses that pollute
should pay higher fees for business and dumping permits to help pay for
environmental law enforcement.
Candidates who are strong environmentalists are viewed as embodying some
positive qualities that are particularly relevant in the current political
environment. Voters perceive pro-environment candidates as sharing their
values (72 percent), responsible (68 percent) and trustworthy (65 percent).
The same positive traits are not attributed to candidates who support
reducing government regulation on business.
"Political candidates, regardless of political party, can benefit by
including environmental issues in their campaigns," said Al Quinlan,
president of Greenberg Quinlan Research Inc. "Not only do environmental
issues, especially clean air and water, appeal directly to the quality of
life and health concerns of voters, but candidates who embrace these issues
are viewed in a significantly more positive light by voters."
Quinlan noted that key swing voters readily associate pro-environment
candidates with these positive qualities, particularly "shares your values."
Independents (77 percent), young women (79 percent) and moderate to
conservative Democrats (79 percent) view pro-environment candidates as
sharing their values.
"The trend in politics this year is that candidates are talking less about
issues and more about character and values," Callahan said. "The environment
can be a key issue in that dialogue because environmental support is
perceived by voters to positively reflect on the character of candidates."
Commissioned by the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Education Fund, the
national poll was conducted February 6 - 13 by Greenberg Quinlan Research
Inc. Telephone interviews were conducted with 1,750 likely voters. The
results are weighted to nationally represent 1,000 likely voters. The
margin of error on the poll is +/- 3 percent.
The LCV Education Fund is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public education
organization dedicated to building the grassroots power of the environmental
movement to involve citizens in policy decisions at all levels of
government. The poll released today is part of an extensive year-long
assessment of the saliency of environmental issues and how they influence
voter participation. Working with state environmental groups and a variety
of pollsters, the LCV Education Fund will this year conduct 22 state and 3
national polls on environmental and conservation issues and their
relationship to civic participation.
A nationwide, representative sample of 1000 respondents was supplemented
with the following regional oversamples: 192 respondents in the New England
region, 53 respondents in the Middle Atlantic region, 44 respondents in the
Southeastern region, 7 respondents in the Great Lakes region, 197
respondents in the Northwestern region, 111 respondents in the Southwestern
region, and 146 respondents in the Western region. The data were weighted by
region, gender, age, marital status, education, and race to ensure the
sample is an accurate reflection of the population. The sample size with
this weight applied is 1000 cases.
Click here to download the PDF version of the LCV Education Fund Final Analysis report!|
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